Point guard Derryck Thornton — a graduate transfer from Southern California who previously played at Duke — scored 22 points and dished four assists to lead Boston College past host South Florida 74-60 on Sunday afternoon in Tampa.
The Eagles (2-0) also got 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists from 6-foot-11 center Nik Popovic, who went 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Boston College, which went 14-17 last season but lost four games in overtime, also got a combined 21 points from two freshmen reserves: Julian Rishwain (11) and CJ Felder (10).
South Florida (1-1) was led by junior guard David Collins, who scored 19 points. Collins, who finished second in the nation in free throw attempts last season, went 5 of 7 from the foul line. He added a game-high seven steals but committed six turnovers.
USF, which returns four starters from a team that last season went 24-14 and won the lower-tier College Basketball Invitational, also got 14 points, two steals and one assist from senior point guard Laquincy Rideau, the reigning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The Bulls built a nine-point lead with 7:17 left in the first half, surging ahead 26-17.
But BC battled back and went into the break with a 43-32 advantage. There were seven lead changes before BC took over with an 11-0 run to end the half, capped by a 3-pointer by Popovic.
USF started the second half on a 4-0 run, cutting its deficit to 43-36. But Popovic hit a 3-pointer off a Thornton pass, and the Bulls never got that close again as Boston College maintained a double-digit lead for the final 16 minutes.
Both teams were without players who were recently ruled out for the season due to injuries to their left knees. USF lost Alexis Yetna, a 6-8 forward who led the AAC last season in rebounds (9.6) and double-doubles (15). BC is without Wynston Tabbs, who averaged 13.9 points as a freshman last season.
—Field Level Media